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Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Branch of Guava tree with Army Ants, Pink-Toe Tarantulas, Huntsman Spiders, and Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird 1702-03

RCIN 921172

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The Latin name of the tarantula genus is Avicularia – ‘small bird’ – referring to the spiders’ supposed diet. However, tarantulas do not prey on birds, and it has been suggested that the reputation arose because of Merian’s memorable image.